(Sara Oliver, MD, MSPH, LCDR, U.S. Public Health Service) - As a board-certified infectious disease pediatrician, I talk to parents all the time about the importance of HPV vaccination. More importantly, I am also a parent of two great kids. My son, who just turned 11, got his HPV vaccine. Why was it so important to us to do this now? To put it simply, the HPV vaccine prevents HPV-related cancers. The last few years have been a struggle for us all to catch up with our regular busy routines. But HPV vaccination can’t wait. We all need to protect our kids now, and here’s why: HPV vaccination is cancer prevention.
If parents of my patients have any questions about HPV vaccination when it’s time for their daughter or son to receive the vaccine, I always reassure them that a whole generation has already received this lifesaving vaccine. We have more than 15 years of data to confirm that the HPV vaccine is safe and has already prevented so many HPV infections and actual precancers. I tell them just how important this vaccine really is, and why I didn’t wait when it was time for my own son and daughter to get it on their 11th birthdays. More than 90% of HPV-related cancers that occur every year could be prevented by routine HPV vaccination. If I can prevent my kids from having any type of cancer later in life, I will.
As a pediatrician and mom, I got both my son and daughter vaccinated.
I chose to protect my daughter and son by getting them vaccinated against HPV as soon as they were 11 years old. My 13-year-old daughter already completed her two-dose series, and my 11-year-old son just received his first dose this year. Before his appointment, he and I talked about the vaccine. He was a little worried that it was going to hurt. But he was a trooper the day of his visit and told me that getting “the shot was definitely worth it, because not getting cancer is a really good thing.”
Protect your kids.
As a pediatrician, I know that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective cancer prevention. It’s recommended for girls and boys at age 11 or 12. Talk to your kids about the importance of this lifesaving vaccine and schedule HPV vaccination at their next visit. As a parent, I made sure that my kids are vaccinated now to protect them later.
Photo Credits: Lizzie Oliver